Back in school for spring 2016

I am back in school this semester and it is a wonderful feeling. I wasn't able to attend during the summer or this fall for a lot of reasons. It was just too tough with the churches, my wonky health and school to get everything in. As you probably know, my daughter helped me a lot during the past few semesters and her job is too busy during the holidays for her to help.

It's time to ease back into the school schedule by taking a single photography course. It meets only one night a week. Hubby has pledged to help me when its needed. Photography is his passion. He knows his way around a DSLR well. I am in good hands. My daughter is also willing to help and I am in good hands there too.

You've probably noticed a shortage in blog posts over here. That's because life and health keeps getting in the way. A wonderful staff blogger holds the fort down at You've Been Reviewed, but not here. It seems unfair to ask someone else to update a blog with my name on it.

Yes, there are bloggers that hire it done and it seems to work well for them. It just doesn't feel right for me. Not with a blog that has my name on it anyway. So, what you read is what you get. Live and in typeface.

My You Tube channel remains active at YouveBeenReviewed. Hubby and Daughter help me over there too. They are the unsung behind-the-scenes heroes that make it work and I appreciate it. Videos are scheduled for Thursday at 12:00 well into March. If my clothing seems out of season, then that's because it probably is. lol

Many thanks to you for your patience with my irregular posting. Life gets a little crazy sometimes. I hope to do a better job keeping everyone updated in the future.

See  ya' online.


Almost empty nesting at Christmas

It is the oddest sensation that today doesn't seem like Christmas. Life has been so busy! I made eight loaves of sourdough bread for the food pantry and another ten to give to friends. Dozens of cookies were made, along with cheese straws and a yule log cake. I even ordered a new cookie press to make the cheese straws with. So why doesn't it feel like Christmas?

Decorated Christmas tree.
The flash flooding could have something to do with it. Rain water overflowed the culvert in front of our home. The end of our driveway was invisible and water spilled over the street. Now I know why they say not to drive on flooded roads. We are well acquainted with the lay of the land in front of our house. Yet, from the safety of our warm home we could not estimate the depth of the water. My husband and I were wearing short sleeves while we watched the downpour burst forth. It's strange for the weather to be so warm at Christmas.

I am happy to report that our tree, all two feet of it, is up and decorated. We will be planting it at some point after Christmas. A small tree is easier for us to decorate. I like the idea that this evergreen will be adding beauty for generations - unless some idiot chops it down later.

My oldest daughter is still at home. We are almost empty nesting this year. I fully anticipate that this will be our final Christmas with her. Our younger daughter and her husband are creating their new traditions from half a country away. They are probably alone today, but I'm confident that his parents will probably make the trip. At least I hope so since we cannot. Work duties preclude us from being able to go.

It is time for my husband and I to think about creating new traditions for our family. I'm not sure what that will look like. Friends go away for the holidays, but that's not an option for us.

For years, our small family would pile into the car after the first of the year for a break. Maybe my husband and I may have to try that. Sort of like an after-Christmas, after party. I like that idea. Maybe we could skiing? Or take the cruise to the Bahamas that Hubby has always wanted to do? Seeing the northern lights in Alaska sounds appealing too.

You know what? I think that I may like this new-tradition Christmas after all.

I hope yours is a merry one!


Autumn glory in the Appalachian Mountains

There is something about the Appalachian Mountains that soothes the soul. Driving through them is akin to answering the siren's call of nature. Today, the mountains are cloaked in the splendor of an autumn evening. The brilliant reds and gleaming golden leaves herald the transition from the hot summer into the coolness of winter. I gaze upon the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains as I drive into the interstate 40 in North Carolina and am at once touched and inspired by the beauty.

Fall leavesI am reminded that Jesus said if we do not praise Him, then the very rocks will cry out. And, they do. Looking at the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, it seems as though the trees are crying out. Each tree created individually, yet standing together as a giant chorus sing their own rendition of "It is Well with My Soul".

I drive through a road, cut into the side of a towering mountain. The cliff face rises as though it can touch the sky. I see rocks on the roadside, rocks being replaced, the grinding sound of equipment and roar of the road are a blur against my window as I pass by. It is a brief interruption in the otherwise quiet of the journey.

Pink rosesA rest area sign calls me to pause and I do. I sit on a bench at the North Carolina Welcome Center. The Saturday canopy provides a respite on sunny days.Today, I bask in the shadow of the mountain. Flowers at the rest area are in full bloom. It is as though they know their days are numbered and have chosen to go out in full glory. Birds twitter softly, a light breeze carries the sound. It is a good moment.

Yellow flowersA car pulls up and children, full of the energy of youth and of being in the car too long, begin piling out of the car as if to escape confinement. Tablets and phones wave in the air. A harried mom and dad get out to stand in front of the minivan pondering the miles that lay before them.

They are heading to the beach they say. It is fall break for only a few more days. They need the break they tell me, as the kids rush up. Mom leaves kids with Dad for a few minutes then returns.

We chat for a minute. Then Dad leans back stretching and looks at the mountains. Mom does too. Together they stand for a minute, they too seem to be taking in the wonder. The kids notice and comes running up to see what's wrong. In their busy high tech world it doesn't occur to them to sit, be still, and see.

Mom sees this, and Dad. They exchange looks and Mom nods. Groaning kids put their tablets in the car and together they stomp down to follow dad down the side of the hill to the picnic area.

The mom looks my way and gives a small wave. She says that she wonders if the kids realized that they are on vacation or what that actually means.

We talk about the busyness of life, what that means for families and how adults and kids don't take time for each other even when they are on a trip. I said that as parents it's our job to teach them. She nods in agreement and says, that lesson can begin right now.

I couldn't agree more.